Happy 175th Birthday, Tiffany & Co.

“Behind every successful business is a story of risk-taking and unyielding dedication”, and perhaps no story epitomizes this sentiment more than that of Tiffany & Co.

When the young Charles Lewis Tiffany opened his “stationery and fancy goods” store on September 14, 1837 at 259 Broadway in New York City, never would he have imagined his humble shop would soon become an arbiter of style. Yet, as circumstances would have it, his budding enterprise grew with the advent of America’s nouveau riche. 

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Charles Lewis Tiffany shares an intimate moment with his family (1888)

In 1885, he built a mansion for his family at the intersection of 72nd Street and Madison Avenue, dressed by his son Louis Comfort Tiffany - otherwise known as LCT.

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The family's mansion in New York

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Louis Comfort Tiffany (far left), with his parents seated and holding his twin daughters, Louise and Julia (1888)

 

Not one to stay in his father’s shadows, LCT was a leader in the Art Nouveau movement and is revered for his breathtaking array of stained-glass lamps and windows, jewelry, enamels, ceramics and precious objects. At his father's death, he was appointed the company’s first design director.

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Louis Comfort Tiffany with sister, Annie Olivia Tiffany (1853)

His artistic oeuvre extends to architecture. Between 1902 and 1905, he oversaw the construction of the 84-room Laurelton Hall on Long Island’s North Shore. The lavish stained glass windows gave way to the scenic terraced gardens and fountains while the interiors are embellished with design motifs culled from the abstract patterns of ancient Egypt, Byzantium and Moghul India. In its heyday Laurelton Hall was the scene of the state’s most memorable balls and fetes.

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Louis Comfort Tiffany was a pioneer of the Art Nouveau movement in North America (c. 1871)

Although the estate was subsequently destroyed by fire in 1957, the stained glass windows, as well as an assortment of Favrile glass vases are on permanent view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Tiffany & Co.

Image Credits: © Tiffany & Co.

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